£28.8m Manchester United newbie's 'dream' achieved by former club

Will Ander Herrera have regrets over his Manchester United move after Athletic Bilbao qualified for the Champions League?

Last night saw the final few teams cement their place in the Champions League Group Stage by winning their respective play-off round ties. Arsenal were one such team, as they overcame Besiktas at The Emirates, but in perhaps the marquee tie of the round Napoli travelled to Spain in order to take on Athletic Bilbao. And it was the Basque side that did the job. Bilbao came out on top 3-1 on the night to qualify for the Champions League for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

The historic Spanish side, which has battled relegation in the past decade, finished fourth in La Liga last term to cement their place in the qualifying stages - and one player who was then with the club who was very excited about this opportunity was Ander Herrera.

The £28.8 million Manchester United newbie, as a Basque himself, was very proud of his region's biggest club confirming their place in Europe's elite for the next season.

Herrera, who scored a free-kick in the game in which they secured a top four finish, said at the start of the year regarding the objectives of Bilbao's season.

“Top four would be great but I don’t want to put a roof on things. I still think the dream is to play in the Champions League.”

Then, as rumours began to circulate that United would be moving for him again in the summer, his agent stated:

"There has been nothing new. There have been rumours all year, saying that United would try to sign him again this summer and even that Mourinho wanted him for Chelsea but we have not heard anything. Player is focused at Athletic and nothing else. Ander has been on holidays and he is just focused on the upcoming season with Athletic because he is very excited about playing Champions League with his team."

But he left the club, joining Manchester United who of course are not playing Champions League football this season - and if their start to the new campaign is anything to go by, they look unlikely to make it back to the elite for next season.

We wonder if Herrera is now regretting forcing a move away from his beloved Bilbao, as perhaps he made the switch one summer early.

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